Shift Labs' Device Improve Accuracy And Patient Safety In IV Infusions Around The World

Shift Labs' Device Improve Accuracy And Patient Safety In IV Infusions Around The World
IV infusions is one of the most common healthcare procedures, and the accuracy of them is critical to patient safety.  While infusion pumps are useful tool that automate the process, there are many clinical settings where pumps are not a viable option, whether it is in home care, disaster settings, or hospitals in low-resource settings. In these situations, gravity IV infusions are more commonly practiced. However, difficulty of calculating infusion rates and limiting nurse workflow and time create many potential errors and is a safety risk to patients.

The Seattle-based startup Shift Labs is designing and developing technologies that improve the lives of people around the world, and has developed DripAssist, an IV infusion monitoring device used in conjunction with a gravity feed. The device attaches to the drip chamber of a standard IV drip set and uses an infrared sensor to precisely detect and count drops in real time. This provides an accurate measure of the flow rate and the total volume of the infusion, replacing the need for manual calculations. It also allow clinicians to set a target flow rate, including an optional alert that lets them know when the rate changes or stop, ensuring safety and accuracy without having to wait by the bedside. In addition, the device require minimal training time, needs no calibration, and runs off one AA battery to offer portability for field, hospital and alternate site use.


While infusion technologies such as pumps are available at many bedsides, a majority of infusions done globally are through gravity. However, gravity infusions requires significant time and attention from a skilled technician, and research shows that around 75% of them are performed at rates too high or low for patient safety. Shift Labs’ DripAssist was specifically designed to improve the accuracy of infusions while reducing provider time spent per patient. It doesn’t change the basic nature of gravity infusions, but enable staff to safely care for patients. With multiple barriers to accurate gravity infusions, DripAssist is an easy and affordable step to ensure patients are receiving the prescribed and safe dose of IV fluids and medication. And in addition to enabling the highest quality of care with an affordable price tag, the device saves clinical care time and costs.

Shift Labs was in 2015 part of Y Combinator and has previously won a silver medal from the Industrial Designers Society of America IDEA awards. They have since secured both FDA and CE Mark approval for their DripAssist device, which currently is used in over 15 countries. The startup has also raised over $1.6 million in seed funding, with investors including Fledge, Great Oaks Venture Capital and Investo, and has received a $300,000 USAAID Ebola-related federal grant.

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